CATEGORIES DVDsThe two major theatrical-to-DVD releases this week will toy with your mind. Martin Scorsese's 'Shutter Island' transports you to an eerie, 1950s world of the criminally insane where a pair of cops (Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo) investigate the disappearance of an inmate from an impregnable island prison; by the film's end nothing is as it seems. And espionage thriller 'From Paris With Love' puts your brain on hold for one-and-a-half hour of mindless, violent, loud entertainment. Be prepared. 'Shutter Island'
What It's About: Martin Scorsese tackles Dennis Lehane's psychological-thriller novel with mixed results. The year is 1954 -- at the height of the Cold War, when God-fearing Americans saw sinister conspiracies under every bed -- and U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) are summoned to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a murderess from the impenetrable Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane. Once there, however -- surrounded by dangerously psychopathic patients -- Daniels discovers that nothing is quite what it seems. There are hints and rumors of sordid experimentation, repressive mind control and secret wards, and the more Daniels probes, the more he begins to feel that he was brought there as part of a sinster plot. Soon he begins to doubt everything -- his memory, his partner, even his own sanity.
It's Kinda Like: 'The Shining' meets 'Chinatown'
What We Say: Though not Scorsese at his best, even second-tier work by the director outshines most anything else coming out of Hollywood. This gothic horror tale sucks you in right away and takes you on a thrill ride that intelligently ramps up the scares -- right until the twist of an ending. Our main quibble is that some of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle Scorsese has created just don't fit together -- there's some shock for shock's sake -- and some of the characters' motivations are nebulous. Still, with a bravura performance by the ever-reliable DiCaprio and with a wonderful soundtrack and gorgeous cinematography (heightened in the Blu-ray version), this is top-notch entertainment. | Rotten Tomatoes Reviews
'From Paris With Love'
What It's About: Espionage shoot-em up about a personal aide to the U.S. Ambassador in France, James Reese (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who does double duty as a low-level operative for the CIA. His first big assignment takes him on a 48-hour journey to hell and back when he's teamed with special agent Charlie Wax (John Travolta), a trigger-happy, wisecracking, loose cannon who's been sent to Paris to stop a terrorist attack. Wax leads the youngster on a white-knuckle shooting spree through the Parisian underworld that has him praying for his desk job.
It's Kinda Like: 'Loose Cannons' meets 'Ronin'
What the Critics Say: Most reviewers hated this action-thriller for its gratuitous violence, John Travolta's overacting, and unoriginal story line -- which is what enthralled those who were positive about it, many damning it with faint praise, as did Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune: "Stoopid fun, 'From Paris With Love' doesn't do much for Paris or love, or your brain cells, but it flies like a crazed eagle on uppers and comes from the talented, propulsive schlocketeer Pierre Morel." Or as Claudia Puig of USA Today put it: "The preposterously silly and bullet-riddled 'From Paris With Love' is so leaden and obnoxious that it actually makes you long for the John Travolta of 'Old Dogs.' | Rotten Tomatoes Reviews
Other New June 8 DVD Releases:
'The Cry of the Owl'
'Sorority Girls 3D'
'TCM Spotlight: Charlie Chan Collection'
Check out other new June 8 DVD releases at OnVideo.